What to use?

I am making a workbench to sit in my fully insulated, slightly heated garage. The table top is a piece of birch covered plywood. Since I am going to be using it mostly for my modeling effort, but also for general purpose use, what are my options for applying a coating to protect the top from various glues, paints (model and otherwise), heat (I have a resistance soldering unit), and anything else you might think of? I have thought about paint, varnish, and polyurethane, but I don't know if there might be something else that would work as well, or better, than what I have thought about. Any suggestions, experiences, or comments?


Jeff Hensley

Reply to
Jeff Hensley
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Jeff, I'm finishing separate work shop in my train shed right now that has two benches. The tops are stained plywood. I used a cherry stain because I had a gallon can laying around. Over this is a clear glossy finish that also was laying around from some long ago proposed project that never happened.. The peg board that surrounds the back and sides of each bench is white and recessed lighting in fur downs directly over the benches makes for plenty of light even with such a dark top. I used metal L brackets under the tops to fasten them to the benches so the tops can be replaced easy. No matter how careful I am I drip paint, glue and thinners on the bench top. Over time it gets various gashes, cuts, chips, gouges, burns and scratches. All this happens even though I use cutting mats and work boards. I made mine knowing they will look horrible after a while so I did just enough so they will look nice to start with. I was going to try some of that gray paint for garage floors because it's tough and resistant to things like oil but the cost was more than I wanted to spend. I have no idea how it would work over wood either as its purpose is to cover and seal cement. I say use what ever you have available or spend as little as possible to finish your tops because you will probably mess them up. Also consider that most modelers after a very short time at their bench have it cluttered sufficiently that they will never see the top again anyway. Bruce

"Jeff Hensley" wrote in message news:BBA79724.6E6F3% snipped-for-privacy@InsightBB.com...

Reply to
Bruce Favinger

Basically, paint it with anything you like, but read on...

Have a piece of 1/4" hardboard as a wear surface, replace it when it gets too hacked up - it will! Also, have a piece of glass about 12" x

18". Use this when you need an absolutely flat service for locomotive/rolling stock work, especially constructing kits or scratchbuilding. Best two things I ever put on my workbench!

Steve Newcastle Oz

Reply to
Steve Magee

... surface. Amen! 1/4" tempered masonite with a urethane clear coat. Should have painted it white first. But it's held down by countersunk flat head screws for easy replacement.

Reply to
Steve Caple

Masonite. Toss it when it's disreputable.

I have mine covered with a piece of grey vinyl drafting board cover. The vinyl is about ten years old and still presentable. It gets cleaned with Spic 'n Span whenever I'm in the mood. A lot more expensive than masonite.

Actual /work/ is done on a sink cut out - piece of particle board with a Formica laminate. This piece I trimmed to about 12" deep by 15" wide. Nothing much sticks to the Formica. The sink cut-out gets sanded occasionally to remove knife trenches. I'm on my second in that same ten years.

Cutting that needs to be done on a softer surface is done on one of those self healing pads from the craft store. Soldering is done on a ceramic pad.

CTucker NY

Reply to

I did the hardboard route also. The top is plywood with a rim (molding) that sticks up 1/4". I cut a piece of Masonite to fit inside the rim, paint it white, and put it down with a few small pieces of doublestick tape.

Haven't tried the glass yet, but sounds like a good idea. I've got some flat granite tiles I use for sharpening tools (some folks use glass - search on "Scary sharp"), they'd probably work as well for flatness, although not transparent.

Reply to
Larry Blanchard

I work on an old breadboard (maple, about 18' x 24") but the actual work is mostly done on a piece of glass about 10" x16". This is especially useful for providing a flat surface and for cutting decals, thin styrene, etc. I wouldn't use any other surface anymore.

Reply to
David B. Redmond

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